Thursday, July 27, 2017

Twitter Request Line, Vol. 197

Even his signature pose is boring
Photo Credit:
It's Twitter Request Line time, everyone! I take to Twitter to get questions about issues in wrestling, past and present, and answer them on here because 140 characters can't restrain me, fool! If you don't know already, follow me @tholzerman, and wait for the call on Wednesday to ask your questions. Hash-tag your questions #TweetBag, and look for the bag to drop Thursday afternoon (most of the time). Without further ado, here are your questions and my answers:

My knee-jerk answer would be Lance Storm, but I feel that's cheating, since he was pretty good in Extreme Championship Wrestling, and when he got to WWE, Vince McMahon gave him the "boring" gimmick. Nothing stokes interest in a character, whether it's to cheer or boo them, than by making their narrative that they're "boring." I could definitely write pages on how McMahon's alleged genius doesn't extend to his creative chops. But I digress. The real answer is Randy Orton. Whenever an athlete is described as "playing the game the right way," you know that player has major deficiencies somewhere. The party line, voiced most loudly by, you guessed it, JBL, is that "if you built a sports entertainer from the ground up, you'd get Randy Orton." Yeah, the dude has the look, and he does moves well, and he has a money finisher. But when has he ever stoked excitement? What are his marquee matches? Vs. Christian? He took maybe one bump total, and Christian worked his ass off to make those matches watchable. Vs. Daniel Bryan? The Black Knight, post-battle, from Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail could have a great match with Bryan BAH GAWD Danielson. The only answer I can think of is the Extreme Rules '12 match with Kane, which I attribute to blind squirrels finding a nut in perhaps the most worker-friendly style of match ever. His interviews have always been boring, and now that his story is "racism in service of 'patriotism,'" they're offensive too. Hell, even his theme songs have been mostly underwhelming. He's a C- student who got opportunities afforded to those who had merits beyond his because his daddy had connections if I ever saw one.

I've always said heat is elastic, and Harper isn't so far gone that he'll need major rehab. He's got a leg up in that he's a solid worker, is One Of Our Guys™, has entanglements with the Wyatt Family that aren't easily forgotten, and most importantly, was on his way to getting over when he had the rug pulled out from under him before WrestleMania. All he needs to do is show up and start being important, and people will get behind him. Sadly, it seems Smackdown is going all-in on EEEEVIL FOREIGNER angles at the top, so who knows how Harper would fit in, but hey, maybe tomorrow, Michael PS Hayes and Road Dogg will quit the company and the direction will change. Who knows.

Man, I've been divorced from the scene somewhat in the last few years, and it's my great wrestling-related depression. This list may or may not be accurate of wrestlers whom I think are underexposed. Like, my first urge was to say "Fred Yehi," but the dude is pretty much the next guy up in EVOLVE, which is one step from NXT at this point. I'm proud of him. Anyway, these are five guys I think people should know about:

  • Juan Francisco de Coronado - It's hard to say that the Chikara Grand Champion is underexposed, but at the same time, the dude has been stunting for years now, and I think his biggest bookings outside the company have been Ring of Honor dark matches and a role in Pro Wrestling Magic. He's a great old school heel who can keep up with workers of several different speeds today. He'd fit in several different promotions well.
  • "Dirty" Andy Dalton - How he's still mostly just a Texas dude is beyond me, especially since he's gotten a few tours in Japan as well to improve upon his already great base of work in places like Inspire Pro Wrestling. He can be a great modern-day scuzzball heel, but he's versatile enough that he can work his way up in any role a company might have for him.
  • John Silver - It felt like he was going to break out big a few years back when he got some Pro Wrestling Guerrilla bookings, but his hype died down a bit for whatever reason. Silver remains a home body in New England and New York, but he's been doing some really great stuff. His outsized personality is only exceeded by how hard he throws down in the ring.
  • Rory Gulak - Again, a guy winning a tournament featuring Zack Sabre, Jr. and Matt Riddle seems like he's on his way, and he's got a famous last name to boot. He's going places, but I just wanna say that it can't come soon enough, and that when he does blow up, he'll have deserved it. 
I can't make it to five in good conscience, because again, most of the non-WWE/contract dudes I know of are pretty famous. I hate that I got so departed from the non-big scene that I can't dig up the truffles like I used to, especially for female talent. Blame fatherhood, I guess.

The Dating Game. Why should Braun Strowman have to slum it on Tinder when WWE could just deliver the best of the best dating prospects to him?

This question is hard because whose advantage is really the best advantage? The Aries-HOSS would have concentrated power behind his moves because of muscle density, or would the increased momentum from 400 lbs. of flips and dives be too much from Strow-ville? I think I'd have to give the advantage to the smaller guy if just because he can fit in tighter places with his size, and his power moves would just be that much more devastating with the element of surprise.

So, I can pluck talent from WWE or New Japan, just not main event dudes. In no particular order...

  • SANADA - He has it, man. He's handsome, pulls off several good looks, and is a great worker who can go either way on the alignment chart.
  • Fred Yehi - C'mon
  • Johnny Mundo - I need star power, and Mundo/Hennigan/FKA Morrison would provide it in spades.
  • Jordynne Grace and Hania the Howling Huntress - This feud kick-starting a women's division, or working as workers in a non-gendered wrestling promotion, would be dynamite.
I mean, I'm not pretending I'd compete with WWE right away, but in order to do it, you wanna go with an ear to the future, not by mining the past, y'know?

If one reads the tea leaves and thinks WWE wants to call an audible, the odds may get blown wide open. Brock Lesnar may end up wrestling Jon Jones at SummerSlam, and it probably wouldn't be for the Universal Championship. He's also wrestling Samoa Joe at the company's final show at the Joe Louis Arena for the title. But I'm going to consider all possibilities here:

Jon Jones 100/1 - Never count out WWE doing a dumb publicity stunt, but any talk of Jones working SummerSlam feels like it would be in a special attraction capacity and not as a "potential new titleholder" one.
Samoa Joe 15/1 - WWE is high on Joe, as well it should be, but not "leaving the SummerSlam main event with the company's top title" high. If he walks in with the belt, he probably won't walk out, but never say never, I guess.
Braun Strowman 3/1 - This spot is where things get interesting. Strowman absolutely should win the title here, and he should do it by pinning Brock Lesnar clean with his finisher (whatever it is this week). The problem is that WWE's signals are so garbled lately. Is the company pushing him this hard to give him credibility to go forward, or is it to make Roman Reigns' eventual win mean something more and to give him a ready made challenger for afterwards (which is a double-edged sword at this point, but whatever). Either way, Strowman should be considered an option.
Brock Lesnar 2/1 - This match is a four-way (at least right now) to give Lesnar an out to drop the title without having to eat a pin. Until it's proven otherwise, I will believe Lesnar's last match on this contract will be dropping the title at Mania, but I don't think he's eating a pin here either way.
Roman Reigns Even Money - Reigns can win the title further down the line to give his match with John Cena at WrestleMania more cache, but a SummerSlam-to-Mania (and beyond?) reign feels like something WWE would do to bolster his cred as The Man.

I'll be completely honest here; I've never seen Yano work. When I do, I will agree or disagree with you. Until then, I will have to take your word for it and say he has to show me he's better than Kikutaro, Colt Cabana, and Santino Marella.